JONATHAN CHAIT JUNE 8, 2011
DAVID BROOKS had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday that proclaimed the near impossibility of restraining costs in health care through centralised government efficiency evaluations, which is being justly ridiculed by people (Jon Chait, Jonathan Cohn, Ezra Klein) who note that every single one of the world's centralised government-regulated health-care systems is far cheaper than America's relatively decentralised private-sector one. Mr Brooks has surely had this explained to him a thousand times by now, and his failure to process the fact or incorporate it into his worldview seems to me most likely to reflect an absence of the ideological furniture on which the fact could sit. Mr Brooks doesn't seem to have an instinctive understanding of how it can be possible for unregulated free-market health-care systems to cost more and deliver inferior care than strongly regulated systems with heavy government involvement, and that's why, while he occasionally must have to acknowledge the existence of the French health-care system, he can't seem to retain it.
M.S. provides the ideological furniture. There are limits to what you can prove with one example, but within those limits, M.S.'s example is very, very good. Read it.